Epunchng - Most read newspaper in Nigeria 12th-Oct-2017 - Page 45

sports THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2017 45 NFF/CBN tourney set to begin T HiS year’s NFF/CBN All- Financial institutions Football Competition has been scheduled to kick off on Saturday. The Central Bank of Nigeria pledged its continued commitment to the sponsorship of the tournament ending on October 28. NFF Deputy General Secretary Emmanuel ikpeme, who represented the federation’s General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi at a press conference to herald the championship in Abuja on Wednesday, lauded the CBN for sponsoring the event for the past 30 years. Martins Ogwuda, who stood in for CBN’s Acting Director (Corporate Communications) isaac Okoroafor, said the apex bank was happy that the tournament had attracted interest from more financial institutions. Ogwuda said, “it is worthy of note that teams from Deposit Money Banks, Micro Finance Banks, Financial Regulatory Agencies and other financial institutions have indicated their interest in this year’s competition. “in recent editions, we have observed an increase in the number of microfinance banks participating in the competition. This is an indication that the impact of this competition is being felt at the grassroots level where budding talents are often discovered and nurtured to a level of national and international recognition.” in a statement, the NFF said the championship would kick off on Saturday with preliminary matches in Akure, Bauchi, Calabar and Owerri. The quarterfinals will hold at the same venues, with the semifinals in Lokoja and the final in Lafia. The winners of the tournament will bag N2m while the runners-up will pocket N1.5m. The third-placed team will earn N1m. Alli eyes Gold Label for Lagos marathon T HE General Manager Lagos City Marathon, Yussuf Alli, is optimistic that the race will become an iAAF Gold Labelled race before its fifth edition. The iAAF last week granted the marathon a Bronze Label status after just two editions. Ex-national jumper Alli praised Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for supporting the race. He said, “We need to commend his vision to organise the marathon in the first place. Past administrations were not receptive to the idea, and within two years, the Lagos City Marathon has not only become Africa’s foremost one-day event, it joined the league of the b est maratho n s i n t h e world like the New York, London, Berlin, Tokyo and other marathons by being awarded an iAAF Label”. Alli, who played a prominent role in the Okpekpe 10km Road Race becoming an iAAF Bronze and Silver Labelled Race, said his aim, with the backing of Ambode, was to get an iAAF Gold Label for the Lagos City Marathon before its fifth edition. •Argentina’s Lionel Messi (right) with Ecuador players during their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier in Quito, Ecuador...on Tuesday. Argentina won 3-1. Photo: AFP ORMER world champion Larry Holmes is backing world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to become one of the greatest boxers of all time, according to Skysports. Holmes, who fought Mike Tyson and beat Muhammad Ali, says the WBA ‘super’ and iBF champion can be a legend if he stays hungry Joshua can become one of the greatest – Holmes F Heartland gain promotion H EARTLAND of Owerri returned to the Premier League on Wednesday following their 1-0 victory over First Bank in their National League match in Lagos. Okoro Ndukwe’s 36th minute goal was all Heartland required to secure victory and a return to the elite league after a season in the lower division. The win took Heartland to 60 points after 31 matches in the NNL. The closest team to Heartland are Bayelsa United with 55 points and Go Round, who have 54 points from 31 matches. There is only one more match week to play in the NNL this season. The battle for the second promotion spot from the Southern Conference of the league is between Go Round and Bayelsa United. Go Round, who had hung on to second place since the start of the second stanza of the league, were beaten 2-1 by Nnewi United while Bayelsa beat Papilo 1-0 in Yenagoa. •L-R: Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Deji Tinubu; Chairman, FCBESCOLA Lagos, Lesile Oghomienor; Director, Children International School, Lekki, Joke Chukwumah; Head of School, CIS, Mark Mcluckie; and vice -chairman, Blaugrana Sports International/FCBESCOLA, Kayode Adeleke, during the official media launch of the FCBESCOLA Island Campus in Lagos…on Tuesday. Photo: FCBESCOLA and remains focused on boxing. The 67-year-old former champion admits he has been impressed by Joshua, whose next title defence is on October 28 when he faces Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. Holmes said, “i got to be heavyweight champion of the world when i was 30 years old and this guy (Joshua) is just at 27. “i think he has a great opportunity to make himself known as one of the greatest fighters of all time. “You’ve always got to think you are better than the next guy. if he keeps going i think he’ll be strong and i that’s what’s going to make him a great fighter. “if he can stay hungry he will be okay. “He’s fighting whatever is out there and he’s going to be able to climb that ladder because he knows how to fight.” Holmes believes a fight between Joshua and WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who defends his title against Bermane Stiverne on November 4 would be too close to call. He added, “i’d flip a coin because both guys are big and punch very well. “That’s one fight i really don’t want to call. Wilder’s got a good punch, which they both do,